Robert Sheaffer, stalwart skeptical UFO reporter is chronicling it on his blog. Bad UFOs: Skepticism, UFOs, and The Universe – by Robert Sheaffer: UFOs In the Desert, Part 1. Great stuff!
And Tyler A. Kokjohn, Ph.D., provided me with this fascinating viewpoint of one set of the talks. These should give you an idea of what is going on in the UFO field. Times are changing, no doubt.
Divergent Singularities: Experiencing the 2013 International UFO Congress
Micah Hanks and Leo Sprinkle both provided skilled and well polished presentations. Taken together, their talks revealed a remarkable set of contrasts and insights into the state of modern UFO study.
Mr. Hanks may represent the future of UFO studies. Young, animated and new media savvy, he projected strong dissatisfaction with the present state of ‘ufology.’ Describing his method as a fundamentally skeptical approach with conclusions dictated by facts, he stated explicitly that he has yet to see convincing proof UFOs are of extraterrestrial origin. Noting that scientific understanding of UFOs has not advanced in the decades since the 1947 Roswell event, Mr. Hanks called for new explanatory paradigms. Disenchanted with the endless study of UFO history, he suggests the answers lie in our future.
Calling for radical change, Mr. Hanks incorporated several familiar UFO memes into his narrative perhaps to preempt resistance to his ideas. Reworking and extending the Cryptoterrestrial hypothesis of the late Mac Tonnies to accommodate the future technological evolution of humankind, he notes the stunning advances in computer technology and anticipates accelerating consequential changes. Postulating an approaching era of super-empowered humans controlling devices that evade temporality (time), he suggests that some UFOs are home grown technologies visiting from the future. Delving further into the nature of time itself and mathematical synchronicities that I simply could not comprehend, he indicated answers to the present UFO enigma will simply emerge as our technologies and intelligence evolve. The invocation of complex physics without even a superficial effort to provide background information always makes me suspicious. However, everyone else seemed to get it, suggesting I have some evolving to do.
Leo Sprinkle’s presentation was delivered without Powerpoint slides or any visual aids as he remained fixed behind the podium. Nonetheless, his strong story line compensated for a definitely old school delivery. Recounting his work and outlining his investigative philosophy he revealed quite a bit about his own experiences.
Dr. Sprinkle feels UFOs convey specific, metaphorical signs to experiencers; messengers from an unspecified intelligence that mirror our identities. And that can apparently be a complex process for someone like him who discovered through self-hypnosis he had past lives as a Roman soldier, a Crusader, a head hunter and a female in Peru among others. In stark contrast to Mr. Hanks, Dr. Sprinkle feels definitive proof is derived through the expression of deep emotional reactions during self-induced hypnotic trances. And that is all he needs.
Micah Hanks feels change is past due and is struggling to cobble together a scientifically plausible explanatory hypothesis. Leo Sprinkle thinks his hypnosis-based work is definitive. I was left wondering how a field with virtually no established facts and harboring investigators with such incompatible working philosophies could survive. I feel the evidence suggests ufology based on the extraterrestrial hypothesis has imploded and atomized. Instead of the singularity Micah Hanks envisions, I anticipate complete and sustained divergence.
People will continue to have strange experiences and witness inexplicable aerial phenomena. Such a spontaneously rekindling and diverse market offers steady opportunities for anyone providing harmonious, not necessarily scientific, explanations. Summarizing his own conclusions, Dr. Sprinkle may have also neatly encapsulated the future of ufology. This is the golden age. Run around and have fun.
-Tyler A. Kokjohn